Big Sister's success with our back-to-school campaign

[caption id="attachment_518" align="alignleft" width="209" caption="Nikki White is the recruitment coordinator at Big Sister Association of Greater Boston"]Nikki White[/caption]At Big Sister Association of Greater Boston, our mission is to help girls realize their full potential by providing them with positive mentoring relationship with women. This year, our goal is to serve 3,000 girls, which we do through our Community-Based and School-Based 1-1 Mentoring and our Group programs.

The School-Based program, in which we partner with nearly 30 schools and community sites, is where we focused our marketing efforts for Mass Mentoring Partnership's Back-to-School Mentor Recruitment Campaign. This one-to-one mentoring program creates matches between elementary school girls and women mentors. They meet once a week throughout the academic year, at the girl’s school either during her lunchtime or after-school program. Each match decides how to spend their time together, whether it’s playing board games, reading a book together, or reviewing homework assignments.

We designed three strategies with the seed grant we were awarded through this campaign. First, we promoted our Facebook presence and brand visibility through Facebook ads directed to our page. Second, we promoted our School-Based program through Facebook ads directing to our website and targeting the hard-to-reach neighborhoods of Charlestown, Dorchester, and Quincy. Third, we are placing ads in neighborhood e-newspapers directed towards our School-Based program in those same neighborhoods for National Mentoring Month in January.

The first strategy increased our "likes" on Facebook in November by 57% with 40 new likes in one week. We moved from 18 daily users of our page to 64. Although we had been seeing consistent growth of traffic to our Facebook page, we hadn’t seen this large of an increase before.

For the second strategy, we saw the same click-through rate of 133 being directed towards our Become a Big Sister page. In the week prior to our campaign, we saw 1.8% of the people who went to the Big Sister Association website come from Facebook. In the week of the campaign, 12% of the people going to our website were coming from Facebook. In November, we had also seen correlations in the increase of applications and inquiries coming in through the media.

The third strategy that we are going to implement is placing School-Based ads in specific neighborhood newspapers in Dorchester, Charlestown and Quincy in January when college students are coming back from school vacation.

We know that the back-to-school months are a crucial time to recruit women mentors. Fall is the start of a new year for many women. It is the season where college-age women fall back into the college schedule and it is also a time where working women have come back from a variety of summer activities and are ready to be involved in their community. By being able to create targeted Facebook advertisements during this busy time, it allowed us to reach women who we may not have been able to reach through typical event recruitment.